Seriously: I Stopped Using Moisturizer, and My Breakouts Disappeared

Updated 08/10/19

A few months ago, I had a major aha moment. I came across a Women's Health story that answered a frustrating question I'd been asking up until that point: I'm doing everything I can to care for my skin every night (cleansing, toning, and moisturizing), so why do I keep waking up with annoying little breakouts? The answer: Moisturizer is the culprit.

Dr. Neal Schultz, NYC-based dermatologist and creator of Beauty RX, explains that if you have oily skin, you can actually stop using moisturizer at night. "You should only use products that serve a purpose," says Schultz. So if your skin is already naturally hydrated, you don't need to add an extra layer of thick cream, thus over-hydrating and causing tiny blemishes. Mind. Blown.

With this information in hand, I decided to completely ditch night creams (and all moisturizing creams, even during the day) and instead, I've been using glycolic peels (once a day) and serums after cleansing, as directed by Schultz. While I still get occasional breakouts around the time of my period, those little bIemishes that I always used to get in the morning have disappeared, and my skin has never looked better—seriously.

If you want to try swapping out your moisturizer for glycolic peels and hydrating serums, keep reading to discover the products worth adding to your routine.

Glycolic Peels Worth Adding to Your Skincare Routine

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Murad Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel $65
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This gentle, yet potent glycolic acid peel is designed to slough away the build-up of dead skin cells, effectively preventing sebaceous glands from going into overdrive. As a result, your skin is less likely to over-produce oil, which means fewer random breakouts.

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ALPHA-H Beauty Sleep Power Peel $129
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This best-selling overnight peel has a whopping 628 likes on Sephora, as well as all 5-star reviews. It's made with glycolic acid, retinol, and shea butter to not only gently exfoliate skin, but to act as a hydrating anti-aging treatment, too.

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Moon Juice Beauty Shroom™ Exfoliating Acid Potion $39
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This fan-favorite peel is made with glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids, making it an all-encompassing approach to clear, glowing skin. Where the AHAs work to balance moisture levels, the BHA helps unclog pores and create a more even tone. And then there's niacinamide and reishi mushroom to protect against environmental stressors and dehydration. In other words, no wonder this potion has over 10,000 likes on Sephora.

The Serums That Helped Me Stop Using Moisturizer

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Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Hydration Booster $68
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This time-released serum is filled with hyaluronic acid and—get this—watermelon extract to deliver intense hydration without clogging your pores. 

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IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Lines Serum $58
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A serum-moisturizer hybrid, this line-reducing product from IT Cosmetics is much lighter than a moisturizer but just a touch heavier than a serum for those who desire a little something extra. 

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Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum $120
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Looking for something more natural? This serum is made with five organic key ingredients: arnica Montana, calendula, borage, meadowsweet, and alfalfa to deliver oxygen, nutrients, and vitamins to your skin.

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Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum $185
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A fan favorite at Byrdie HQ, this active serum uses the "world's most nutrient-rich botanicals and essential oils" to give you a radiant, glowing complexion. 

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